ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 9

After Saturday's Stunning Win Over Clemson, There's No Question FSU's On Top in the ACC

After Saturday’s Stunning Win Over Clemson, There’s No Question FSU’s On Top in the ACC

Plenty left to digest in the ACC after a weekend of national poll carnage. FSU’s obviously the king of the hill after massacring Clemson, but every other spot appears up for grabs. With the season more than halfway over, the conference appears to be angling for two BCS bids (hopefully), adding some extra intrigue to the top four or so spots as well. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (Week 9)

1. Florida State Seminoles (6-0) (4-0) (Last: 2): So much terror. The Seminoles undressed Clemson in a way I’m unsure any of us ACC fans saw coming, and as a result, they sit atop this subjective pile of teams for the foreseeable future. Jameis Winston has asserted himself as the ACC’s best quarterback, leader and player, and is now the nationally-relevant personality the conference has needed for some time. So is FSU “back” for all intents and purposes? We’ve been here before, but it feels very different this time. I’d take this FSU squad over just about any other team in the country right now.

2. Clemson Tigers (6-1) (4-1) (Last: 1): Bear with me here. Yes, the Tigers were demolished. Yes, they proved their doubters correct, derailed their national title hopes and murdered Tajh Boyd‘s chances at winning a Heisman, too. But one surprising blowout can’t just eliminate all the good that’s come from this season, can it? Clemson’s defense is much-improved (especially in the pass-rush) and the offense is still top-notch. When comparing them to Miami, I’d take the Tigers despite last week, and that on its own elevates them over the ‘Canes for the time being.

3. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (6-0) (2-0) (Last: 3): That Thursday night game was horrendous, and yet Miami still managed to pull it out. Stephen Morris was about as flawed as you’ll find him (threw four INTs) and Duke Johnson was injured early. And yet, this team was able to pull out a very late win on the shoulders of their defense and backup running back Dallas Crawford. Again, not pretty, but the fact that the ‘Canes showed some resiliency against a UNC team looking to save their season is a big step in the right direction.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) (3-0) (Last: 5): The bye week gave the Hokies some much-needed rest and the additional reward of moving up further in the national polls. Inside the top 15, Tech is now a legitimate threat to be in the BCS picture, and with just one challenging game remaining (Miami), The key, of course, will be the offense’s consistency. If they can limit turnovers and score around 24 points per game, that should be enough to win with this D.

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ACC Football Goat of the Week, Week 8: Terrel Hunt, Syracuse

Syracuse Orange QB Terrel Hunt is the ACC Goat of the Week for Week 8

Syracuse Orange Quarterback Terrel Hunt is the ACC Goat of the Week for Week 8

No one enjoys piling on when things go wrong. But nonetheless, we’ve got to call out the ACC (plus Louisville) players who were counter-productive in helping their teams grab a victory this weekend. On the bright side for them, they can always get off this list next week. And for their sake, let’s hope they do.

ACC Goat of the Week, Week 8: Terrel Hunt, QB/Syracuse

After a hot start to the Terrel Hunt era, things have taken a turn for the worst for Syracuse as their quarterback of choice is struggling mightily. Since ACC play started, the redshirt sophomore has completed just 25 of 58 passes for 194 yards and six interceptions. Prior to Saturday’s massacre against Georgia Tech he’d been running the ball very well, but that’s now ground to a halt as well. His struggles, minimized when the team’s defense is playing well, has now hit a breaking point and SU is now searching for answers. He’s the obvious answer this season based on the rest of the roster, but is he a long-term solution? Under Hunt and offensive coordinator George McDonald, the passing game’s absolutely collapsed. It doesn’t help that the defense was ill-prepared for Tech’s triple-option either, but scoring zero points in a contest is simply unacceptable. After a mildly promising 3-3 start, the Orange and Hunt have a lot to work out during this coming bye week.

Honorable Mention:

Stephen Morris, QB/Miami (19/35 passing, 322 passing yards, 0 TD, 4 INT)

Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (17/37 passing, 164 total yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)

Syracuse Orange rushing defense (allowed 394 rushing yards, 7 rushing TD)

Clemson Tigers passing defense (allowed 444 passing yards, 4 TD)

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 8

Tajh Boyd Understands the Pressure He and His Clemson Tigers Will Be Up Against This Saturday

Tajh Boyd Understands the Pressure He and His Clemson Tigers Will Be Up Against This Saturday

We’re here! It’s the biggest week in ACC football history! The most important game, possibly, this conference has ever seen and it could end up being the college football regular season’s most important game as well. All eyes are on Clemson and Florida State, and as regular spectators, we’re happy to even be a small part of the festivities and attention sent the ACC’s way. Just like normal, we’re running down the list of every ACC (plus Louisville) game and predicting outcomes that will almost undoubtedly be wrong. Have some picks of your own? Predict away in the comments!

Game of the Week

Florida State Seminoles (5-0) (3-0) at Clemson Tigers (6-0) (4-0): The winner of this game gets a clear shot at a conference title, Heisman trophy, National Championship and so much more. So know that both teams will be fully prepared for what comes on Saturday night. Tajh Boyd‘s been here many times before, while Jameis Winston takes his first trip into the spotlight against a major opponent. The two quarterbacks may cancel each other out, which brings this game down to the defenses. Clemson’s pass-rush is one of the best in the country, and FSU’s has been iffy at times this year. Neither side’s a push-over, though something tells me the Tigers’ experience plays a major part in delivering the win. This veteran Clemson team remembers last year’s close loss to the ‘Noles and will be prepared for the rematch. It’s not to take away from Florida State. I just see the Tigers as the (slightly) better team — especially at home. Prediction: Clemson 41, Florida State 38

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Miami Hurricanes (5-0) (1-0) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-4) (0-2): Miami’s rocketed into the top 10, while the Tar Heels could not be in worse shape. This of course is the recipe for a major upset in most cases, though I just don’t buy it here. The Hurricanes’ offense has scored 42 points or more for three straight games, and despite a lingering ankle injury to Stephen Morris, they’ve still maintained one of the top 30-40 passing attacks in the country. The defense is also improved and given the recent state of things for the Heels, a lot would have to go their way in order to beat Miami on Thursday. Prediction: Miami 33, UNC 21

UCF Knights (4-1) at Louisville Cardinals (6-0): UCF’s without its top pass-rusher on Friday, which certainly poses an issue to their strategy of getting to Teddy Bridgewater. Still, the Knights should be well equipped to giving the Cardinals all they can handle in Louisville’s last game against real competition. If the Cards defense plays as they have lately, they’ll do just fine. But make no mistake, UCF will be able to test this team as likely no team has all year — nor will, until the postseason, that is. Prediction: Louisville 27, UCF 20

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ACC Football 2013 Bowl Projections: Week 8

Now Ranked 10th in the Country, Could Miami Position Itself for a BCS Bid?

Now Ranked 10th in the Country, Could Miami Position Themselves  for a BCS Bowl Bid?

A couple ACC teams have already locked up bowl eligibility and a few more on knocking on the door around the halfway point in the season. For the time being, just trying to go in order based on both current record and projected outlook with the schedule ahead — really the only thing you can do. Disagree with any of these? Share your own picks below.

ACC Bowl Projections 2013: Week 8

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (6-0) vs. BCS at-large

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (5-0) vs. SEC

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Miami Hurricanes (5-0) vs. SEC

Russell Athletic Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) vs. AAC

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Maryland Terrapins (5-1) vs. Pac-12

Belk Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-3) vs. AAC

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2) vs. SEC

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Syracuse Orange (3-3) vs. SEC

Military Bowl: Duke Blue Devils (4-2) vs. C-USA/MAC

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College Eagles (3-3) vs. BYU/Pac-12

As per usual, we include Louisville (6-0) in these things. As has been the case for several weeks, we’ve got them headed to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Big 12 champion, which may or may not be Baylor.

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ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 8

The ACC's Top Two Teams Faceoff In Front of a National Audience This Weekend

The ACC’s Top Two Teams Face Off In Front of a National Audience This Weekend

We’re finally here. The biggest game in the history of ACC football is upon us, and as a result, college football’s eyes are all directed right at our humble conference. Even last year’s FSU-Clemson matchup couldn’t meet the hype we’ll see leading up to Saturday and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited the country finally cares. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (Week 8)

1. Clemson Tigers (6-0) (4-0) (Last: 1): It wasn’t pretty or confidence-inducing, but Clemson beat Boston College on Saturday and remained undefeated. That’s really all that was asked of them. Likely looking ahead to their matchup with the ‘Noles, it’s at least a little understandable that Clemson’s attentions were elsewhere. But this Tiger team seems different. No “Clemsoning.” No slip-ups thus far. Just dominant play en route to a huge regular season spectacle this weekend. Everything, from ACC title hopes to Heisman trophies and BCS National Championships, are all on the line.

2. Florida State Seminoles (5-0) (3-0) (Last: 2): Coincidentally, Florida State also had some recent trouble with Boston College as well, so at least both of the league’s top teams are in the same boat. After a bye week, FSU should be well-rested and ready for the speed Clemson’s offense will present. But will the offense loose momentum after the long rest? After the last bye week they put up 62 points so no, I wouldn’t be too worried about this team’s ability to keep running.

3. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5-0) (1-0) (Last: 3): Stephen Morris, your ankle is terrifying the rest of us — or at least those of us who think it would benefit the league for Miami to be a national power again. The ‘Canes and their quarterback have looked resilient this season, meeting every challenge large and small this season, though there are also some questions about style points (and a distinct lack of them). I don’t buy that argument since a win’s a win, but if they’re going to move up in the BCS title race, I suppose they’ll have to start demolishing the schedule’s less challenging teams.

4. Louisville Cardinals (6-0) (Last: 4): Another game which the Cardinals won easily, but apparently not easy enough according to media observers who dropped the Cards two spots in the latest AP Poll just because. At this point, Louisville fans have stopped caring and are actually embracing their role in this last season of the BCS. It’s a commendable outlook for a program that deserves better than the general dismissal they’re seeing from the larger college football consciousness.

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 8

Florida State at Clemson in Primetime on ABC is All You Care About This Weekend

Florida State at Clemson in Primetime on ABC is All You Care About This Football Weekend

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 8 TV Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, October 17

Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels (+8.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Friday, October 18

UCF Knights at Louisville Cardinals (-12), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, October 19

Syracuse Orange at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Maryland Terrapins at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+6.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Cavaliers (-2.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Old Dominion Monarchs at Pittsburgh Panthers (No Line), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Tigers (+3), 8 p.m. ET, ABC

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ACC Football Goat of the Week, Week 7: Pete Thomas, NC State

NC State Quarterback Pete Thomas is the ACC Goat of the Week for Week 7

NC State Quarterback Pete Thomas is the ACC Goat of the Week for Week 7

No one enjoys piling on when things go wrong. But nonetheless, we’ve got to call out the ACC (plus Louisville) players who were counter-productive in helping their teams grab a victory this weekend. On the bright side for them, they can always get off this list next week. And for their sake, let’s hope they do.

ACC Goat of the Week, Week 7: Pete Thomas, QB/NC State

Before the game, rumors that Brandon Mitchell could return to the starting quarterback job seemed to tantalize NC State fans. Once they found out that Pete Thomas would again be under center however, things took a predictable turn for the worst. Operating a highly inconsistent offense for the sixth straight week, Thomas failed to ever establish consistency against Syracuse in a home game his team was favored in by a touchdown. As has been the case all season, the junior passer failed to be all that accurate (17-of-35) while throwing yet another interception, making it eight on the year. Hurt mightily by the absence of Rashard Smith at wide receiver, he relied too heavily on Bryan Underwood and mostly had to ignore a running game that never seemed to establish itself against the Orange. At this point, the Wolfpack’s only hope this year is Mitchell returning, since it appears that Thomas just isn’t up to the task at all.

Honorable Mention:

Tom Savage, QB/Pittsburgh (13/28 passing, 187 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT)

Pittsburgh Panthers offensive line (23 rushing yards, allowed 8 sacks)

NC State Wolfpack rushing defense (allowed 362 yards, 3 TD on the ground)

Vad Lee, QB/Georgia Tech (7/20 passing, 174 total yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)

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